Summary of Deseret Iron Company

From The 1857 Iron County Militia Project
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After iron ore and coal deposits were discovered in the region, Cedar City was founded. In the first years of 1851-52, they investigated whether the region had the necessary raw materials – iron ore, limestone, wood, coal, and waterpower – to support smelting on a large scale. After confirming the presence of the necessary materials and relying heavily on the British Isles immigrants who had worked in iron-related industries in Great Britain, they set to building an iron manufacturing plant. They sited the ironworks at the mouth of Coal Creek near the present location of Cedar City. They mined the coal up canyon and transported it by team and wagon to the furnace located on the stream bank below the mouth of the canyon. The iron ore was transported from nearby Iron Springs by wagon. In 1852, after a small test furnace produced a low quality pig iron, they set about building a full-scale blast furnace.

Progress was impeded, however, in 1853-54 during the Walker War. They shifted their energies from iron making to “forting up” to increase their safety. After a peace treaty was reached with the Ute chief Wakara in 1854, they returned to improving the ironworks.

By 1855, they had achieved their greatest success with a sustained run of the furnace producing several tons of pig iron. But most of the runs both before and after failed to achieve a sustained run producing good quality iron. One problem was the fickle nature of Coal Creek, which continued to alternate between flooding and droughts. They determined to develop a more dependable source of power.